Vice President Joe Biden, in a visit to George W. Bush’s hometown, said Friday that President Barack Obama’s ability to sell his agenda to Americans has been hampered by the failures of his predecessor.
Speaking at two Dallas fundraisers, Biden said the Bush administration soured the American people on government and politics with its out-of-control spending, severe job losses and mishandling of two wars.
“I did not anticipate the degree of cynicism that had been reached by the American public,” he said during a lunchtime event at the home of Dallas lawyer Russell Budd. “The greatest damage the Bush administration did – more damaging than the recession, their foreign policy – was the loss of faith the American people had in their government to be able to deliver on anything.”
Biden had similar remarks at a fundraiser hosted by Democratic donor Naomi Aberly at her northwest Dallas home.
“We inherited a cynical republic,” he told the room full of Democrats there. “And I can’t blame them. Eight years of collapse, eight years of being misled about wars.”
Republicans were unmoved, accusing Biden and the administration of ignoring the public’s dismay with the recently approved health care legislation.
“Perhaps Vice President Biden could take some time to listen to ordinary Americans and learn that tickets to his fundraisers aren’t the only thing Texans cannot afford,” the Republican National Committee said in a written statement.
But Biden, along with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, praised the health care law as a landmark victory for the American people.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in in my political lifetime,” Durbin said at the Budd fundraiser. “It’s a new day. It’s a new day we can’t lose.”
The fundraisers, one for the Democratic National Committee and the other for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, included local candidates who will be on November’s general election ballots.
Most analysts predict that Republicans, partly because of the energy generated from the heath care debate, could win big over Democrats in House and Senate races this fall. But Biden predicted Democratic candidates would be attractive to voters.
“The reports of the demise of the Democratic Party in November are premature,” he said. “Every Democratic candidate, including one person here running for Congress, will have a case to make.”
The candidate in the room was Democrat Grier Raggio, who is running against incumbent Republican Pete Sessions – a prime target for Democrats because he runs the GOP’s House campaign committee.
Biden said he and Obama didn’t run just to hang on to political office.
“I didn’t become vice president to stay for eight years,” he said. “I came to make a difference.”
He added: “We don’t think this is about the next election. It’s about the next generation. If we take care of the next generation, we’ll win the next election.”
Biden, known for verbal gaffes, was recently caught on a microphone telling Obama that passage of the health care bill was a “big [expletive] deal.”
The phrase was commonplace at both fundraisers. At least one person wore a BFD button.
Biden didn’t refer to the incident, but before he left Budd’s home, he said, “You’re a big deal,” leaving out the curse word.